Cover image for Historical dictionary of the Elizabethan world : Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America
Historical dictionary of the Elizabethan world : Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America
Wagner, J. A. (John A.)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxxix, 392 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
Reading Level:
1350 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA357 .W34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



The individuals and events of the Elizabethan era continue to be popular topics for contemporary literature and film, and Elizabethan drama, poetry, and music are studied and enjoyed everywhere by students, scholars, and the general public. The Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World provides its users with clear definitions and descriptions of people, events, institutions, ideas, and terminology relating in some significant way to the Elizabethan period. The first dictionary of history to focus exclusively on the reign of Elizabeth I, this volume is also the first to take abroad trans-Atlantic approach to the period by including relevant individuals and terms from Irish, Scottish, Welsh, American, and Western European history.

Author Notes

John A. Wagner holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Arizona State University. He has taught courses in British and Tudor history at Arizona State University and in American and early European at Phoenix College. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This alphabetically arranged volume is intended to provide its users with "clear . . . basic descriptions of people, events, ideas, and terms relating . . . to the Elizabethan period of British history." Aimed at students and others with interest but little background in the period, the dictionary contains 497 entries (218 of which are biographical), averaging about 400 words in length. These short articles are not only clearly and engagingly written but are ably cross-referenced, the related terms being noted in the text of each article in small capitals. Each entry concludes with one or more recommendations for further reading. The recommended works include both scholarly and popular treatments of the period and are cited in the extensive general bibliography, which lists, along with work appearing in entries, many other worthwhile books and articles. The "Guide to Selected Topics," which opens the volume, as well as the detailed chronology provide additional points of entry. Topics, selected for inclusion on the basis of being a significant element of Elizabethan life--or, if a person, having had a likewise significant impact--cover roughly the years from 1485 (Henry VII's capture of the English throne on Bosworth Field) to 1625 (the death of Elizabeth I's successor, James I). Thus, this work provides a broad look at both the historical roots of Elizabeth's reign and the fulfillment of many of the era's political themes, economic trends, and sociocultural movements during the Jacobean period. The geographical approach is similarly broad, taking within its scope the British Isles, America, and Western Europe, "as well as selected sites of Elizabethan activity further afield." Including nine maps of relevant areas, from Tudor Ireland to the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth century; eight genealogical charts; lists of religious and political leaders of importance during Elizabeth's reign; a listing of historical fiction and motion pictures with Tudor or Elizabethan characters and settings; sound recordings of period music; and Web sites for Tudor and Elizabethan topics, this is a well-conceived, elegantly executed resource, useful to a wide cross-section of users. More focused and specific for this time frame than the Oxford Companion to British History [RBB Mr 1 98] or Who's Who in British History [RBB S 1 98], this volume offers a stylish, well-composed look at a fascinating historical period. A good choice for academic and larger public libraries and also worth considering for high-school libraries.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-The popularity of the movies Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth might spark some interest in this book, but its merits allow it to stand on its own. In addition to clear essays, the genealogical charts, maps, and extensive appendixes make this well-organized title an invaluable resource. Topics can be searched alphabetically or under the broad headings listed in the "Guide to Selected Topics" (e.g., "America" or "Trade and Industry"). The entries provide a substantial amount of information but are not exhaustive. Many include see-also references and all suggest one or more titles for further reading. Genealogies of the European monarchs in the 16th century, lists of historical fiction titles, movies with Elizabethan characters and settings, sound recordings of period music, and Web sites are appended. (Both the lists of movies and Web sites are annotated.) A subject bibliography and a thorough index complete the volume. Black-and-white reproductions of portraits and other paintings from the period illustrate the work. A wealth of easy-to-use information.-Carol Fazioli, The Brearley School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In 497 alphabetical entries, Tudor historian Wagner thoroughly surveys the cultural, economic, political, religious, and social events of the British Isles and their American settlements "relating in some significant way to the Elizabethan period." Readers will find not only all the standard entries, but also more obscure information (e.g., fashion) depicting the life of both upper and lower classes. Each entry provides a brief bibliography for further reading, although several list relatively dated titles, and others betray the author's interpretive biases; for example, under "Reformation, English," a subject whose bibliography is huge, only the work of A.G. Dickens is listed. One factual error surfaced--the month of Katherine Parr's death. These detractions are minor. Prefatory material and appendixes cover related material in multiple media, including films, historical fiction, sound recordings, and Web sites. The general bibliography and index are extensive. This text is specialized, but its uniqueness and the author's skilled narrative serve the sustained interest in Elizabethan studies shown by readers, making it a valuable acquisition for all libraries with collections in early modern history. Directed at the nonspecialist, but recommended for all levels. P. J. Jones; Baylor University

Table of Contents

Chronology Maps Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World
Appendix 1 Genealogies
Appendix 2 Elizabethan Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Roman Catholic Popes
Appendix 3 European Monarchs in the Sixteenth Century
Appendix 4 Selected Historical Fiction with Tudor and Elizabethan Characters and Settings
Appendix 5 Selected Motion Pictures with Tudor and Elizabethan Characters and Settings
Appendix 6 Selected Sound Recordings of Tudor and Elizabethan Music
Appendix 7 Selected Web Sites for Tudor and Elizabethan Topics